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Sony is crowdfunding a wearable air conditioner to help you beat the heat

Sony Reon Pocket
(Image credit: First Flight JP (via YouTube))

Sony has unveiled the Reon Pocket, a wearable air conditioner that it hopes will make sweaty summers a thing of the past.

As first spotted by SlashGear, the small gadget has launched on the Japanese electronics giant's First Flight crowdfunding platform.

Pricing starts at ¥12,760, which is around $120, and the most expensive package costs ¥19,030 (~$175).

While hardly pennies, it's significantly cheaper than most air conditioning products and looks to help you beat the heat from an entirely different perspective.

A cool solution 

Reon Pocket

(Image credit: Sony First Flight)

Unlike the chunky AC units you see fitted in homes and offices, the Reon Pocket is a credit card-sized gizmo that sits on the back of the wearer's neck, where it slides into the pocket of specially designed shirts. 

It makes use of what's called the 'Peltier effect', whereby small electrical currents either absorb or emit heat. 

This means that as well as keeping you cool in the summer when you're not somewhere with central air conditioning, it doubles as a wearable heating product and can be used to warm you up in the colder months.

According to Sony, it's capable of lowering your body temperature by up to 23 degree Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) and warming you up by 14 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius).

The standard model is Bluetooth-enabled, letting you control the temperature via an Android or iOS smartphone app, and Sony has said that an automatic mode could be added further down the line.

On the cheaper Reon Pocket Lite, though, you have to manually tweak the temperature on the device itself.

Battery life is claimed to be 24 hours, which is a good thing, as fully charging the Reon Pocket takes approximately two hours via USB-C.

Don't chuck that cheap handheld fan just yet

With severe heatwaves regularly hitting countries all over the world, the Reon Pocket may sound like the best portable air conditioner ever conceived. 

It's certainly a nifty idea, but before you grab your credit card and make for Sony's First Flight crowdfunding site, we've got some bad news for you.

Firstly, the Reon Pocket's projected release date isn't until March 2020, so you'll definitely want to keep that stick of deodorant in your bag for the rest of this summer.

More significantly for most folks, it's currently only available in Japan. Sony hasn't hinted at any international rollout plans for the Reon Pocket, so this particular wearable technology experiment might never land in the US, Europe, or anywhere else for that matter.

The good news is that the device has already cleared its crowdfunding target, so people in Japan seem keen on the idea – and if it proves to be a big hit for Sony, who's to say it won't cross the Pacific one day?

Also, as it's being developed by Sony, there seems to be a much better chance that the Reon Pocket will see light of day – at least compared to your average Kickstarter project. Crowdfunding always carries a certain element of risk, but backers can generally sleep easier if there's an established company behind the campaign.